-By Warner Todd Huston
Contrary to Senator Moynihan’s proclamation, Slate’s William Saletan thinks he’s entitled to his own facts. If not his own facts, then his own version of history at any rate. Anti-Second Amendment Saletan dreamed up his own little set of incidents and actions in order to castigate pro-Second Amendment supporters by claiming that something that didn’t happen could have happened and that, ipso facto, because it could have the Second Amendment is bad — all this based on his dreamy little dream of an alternate history.
Saletan’s January 11 piece was written after he discovered that one of the citizens that responded once the shooting started in front of that grocery store in Tucson had a concealed pistol and was ready to draw it once he got to the scene. The citizen, Joe Zamudio, had arrived ready to use his firearm and initially thought that the man that actually wrested the gun from the shooter was the gunman. Zamudio, however, assessed the situation, realized that the man holding the gun wasn’t the shooter and did not fire his own gun.
Zamudio pronounced himself “really lucky” that he didn’t start shooting at the wrong person. This is where Saletan’s fantasies kicked in.
That’s what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person–a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you’re dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater.
As they say in the old neighborhood, “coulda, shoulda, woulda.” You worst fear, Mr. Saleton, didn’t happen and your fantasy of what could have happened is pretty meaningless blather.
Besides, if you want to play alternate history, here’s one for you Mr. Saletan: Joe Zamudio heard gunfire. He ran to the scene because he was armed and could help. He saw a nut slamming a second 31 round magazine into his pistol and getting ready to start firing anew. Joe fired his pistol and killed a madman that had already shot and killed a judge, a little girl, and others and wounded many including a sitting Congresswoman.
Seconds of time may have seen history turn out that way. A few different actions by those involved could have made a whole different reality occur.
… and it didn’t happen that way.
The fact is that Joe Zamudio did not start firing his own pistol at the wrong person. He held his fire as he made himself familiar with the situation. He was ready to fire and discovered he didn’t need to.
That is what we call a responsible concealed gun owner.
Should we be happy he was there? Yes. Just as we should be happy that a policeman might be around to dissuade a criminal or just as we should be happy that our army is there to prevent a war. After all, we can make the same fantasy scenarios imagining any manner of horrible outcomes in any situation we’re involved in. Should we allow swimming pools? No way, kids could drown. Should we allow cars? Heck no, people will drive drunk. Should we allow printer paper? And have to fear paper cuts? You’re kidding, right?
Of course we cannot make our decisions based solely on a what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen basis. We cannot bubble wrap the world for safety. We have to make our decisions on what is the best likely outcome, the one that is best for the greatest number of people.
In the case of the Second Amendment the best likely outcome is that people will have the tools necessary to save themselves and their loved ones when violence strikes. The best outcome is that people have the capability to protect themselves when the situation demands it, not minutes or even hours after being attacked when the police finally decide to show up.
In fact, Mr. Saletan, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said that the police are under no obligation to save our lives. This is why someone that is injured or killed by a criminal cannot sue the police. The truth is that the police are more investigatory than preventative. So, without the capability to defend ourselves we are all relegated to little else but helpless victim status. Your need to disarm us, Mr. Saletan, makes of us all either a dead or a severely wounded victim that must lie in his own blood awaiting police with their little notebooks and evidence technicians to assess exactly what happened instead of a free citizen that can save our lives and those of our loved ones.
Perhaps there will be a time when a Joe Zamudio makes a snap decision that turns out to be wrong. People are sometimes wrong it is true. But better that we all have the tools to kill a Jared Loughner before he reloads his next 31 rounds than that we all must cower on the ground awaiting that lunatic’s bullets to end our lives.
(Hat tip Liberty’s Lifeline)